Portsmouth manager John Mousinho admitted the 2-0 win at home to Port Vale was ‘a game of two halves’.
After a lacklustre opening 45 minutes, top-scorer Colby Bishop scored twice early in the second half to extend the Sky Bet League One leaders’ unbeaten run to 23 games.
Mousinho said: “Over the 90 minutes you could say ‘job done’ but it was a game of two halves.
“I thought we were excellent in the second half. I said to the lads that maybe it’s a sign of a good team that you can not quite be on it, like we were in the first half, and not concede goals.
“We moved the ball far too slowly in the first half, and we didn’t go forward with enough urgency.”
Pompey’s first half performance did not reflect their lofty league position as Vale had by far the better of the play.
The visitors could have taken the lead in the fifth minute but Funso Ojo could only hit the post from 18 yards.
Ojo had another chance which went straight to Will Norris, James Plant put the ball wide when clear and Ben Garrity headed over from close range for the visitors.
Portsmouth’s only effort before the break was a header from an unmarked Paddy Lane, which went wide.
However, Pompey came out fighting in the second half and they took the lead in the 53rd minute when Bishop tapped in Joe Rafferty fierce cross-shot from close range.
The hosts doubled their advantage five minutes later when a penalty, given for handball by Kofi Balmer, was converted by Bishop.
Mousinho added: “Colby’s all-round play is excellent, and he can sniff out opportunities, which is exactly what he did for the first goal. He works hard and deserves it.”
Disappointed Vale boss Andy Crosby admitted his team’s lack of ruthlessness in the first half cost them.
Crosby said: “We did well to create a number of chances against the league leaders but didn’t work their keeper enough.
“We were the better side in the first 45 minutes but couldn’t put anything away. Funso hit the post, but that was the closest we got.”
“The referee gives a penalty, which my players say wasn’t. They’re adamant it didn’t hit Kofi’s hand, and if anything, we should have had a free-kick.
“We’ve come here with a game plan, to utilise the strength of our players. We were OK up to the point of getting the ball in the box, but we have to be more clinical, more ruthless.
“I didn’t play with a recognised striker because we looked at their back four and felt that we had enough strengths in other areas to play without one.”